Jack Secret Part 1.5

Jack Secret with Geddy’s keyboards (circa 1980s-ish)

From March, 2012 on midipedals.com

A couple of weeks after posting Part 1, Tony called me and hoped to finish up the interview. When he called I was not prepared to record the call, and let him know I would need to call him back. I am assuming Rush has started tour rehearsals, so he has been busy and we haven’t been able to do Part 2 because we haven’t been able to schedule a second interview. Here are a few questions I emailed to him and his answers. I call it Part 1.5 in hopes we can do Part 2 soon.



MIDIpedals.com: Thanks again for your time. It was great to hear about the early days with BOC and Rush. I have a few more questions for you, if you don’t mind.

Rush tour’s coming up. What kind of prep for you goes into it? Are you there at rehearsals from day 1?

Jack Secret: I fly to Toronto 5 or 6 days before rehearsals start and meet up with the rest of the crew. At this point it’s me, Liam [Birt, Tour Manager and Accountant], Gump [Lorne Wheaton, Drum Technician], Scott [Appleton, Guitar Technician], Skully [John McIntosh, Bass Technician], and George [Steinert, Stage Manager & Carpenter]. The next day we make our way to our storage location and transport the gear we will be using to a rehearsal location. The next day we are joined by the sound crew, Brad [Madix, Concert Sound Engineer], Brent [Carpenter, Stage Monitor Engineer], and Anson [Moore, Monitor Systems Engineer], at our work place for the next month. The next couple of days is spent with each one of us checking, repairing and building anything that is needed to be ready for rehearsals and the band. We usually have 4 tech days to ourselves. Did I mention Frenchie [Bruce French] also joins us? He’s the bands nutritionist and this guy can cook. Once rehearsals start he will be cooking between 11 and 13 lunches daily.

On rehearsal days we arrive at about 10am. After coffee I start up my rig. Check and load the samplers. Check and play the MIDI controllers. Make tweaks to the system and update the MIDI ft. pedal charts. The band comes in around noon and run through the new material that is ready. Samples have to be worked out and assigned to be played by one of the three. This is done by logistics, quantum physics, and the tossing of the I Ching. After about 10 days the we are running through the first half of the the show. Both sets have been shaped and minor changes are being made to the order of songs to achieve the perfect flow. By the 3rd week we are doing both sets. After the band rehearsals we have a couple of days to relocate to a larger venue for full production. The full PA and lighting system and everything else in the show is set up, and another 2 weeks of work to get it right.

MIDIpedals.com: What about when they’re in the studio? Are you there during any of the recording process too?

Jack Secret: I would go into the studio with them up until the mid 90’s, after we became more dependent on samples the physical need for dedicated keyboards and there proximity for live performances be mute. Plus the love affair with the synths was over and Ged made up with his bass.

MIDIpedals.com: What kind of software do you use to run Rush’s rig?

Jack Secret: I don’t have any software. I do however have some really comfy sweaters.

MIDIpedals.com: What’s your dream gig, to work with any current or past artist?

Jack Secret: Frank Zappa

MIDIpedals.com: What do you do in your off time?

Jack Secret: I work with a couple of guys, Alan Dreher and Ed Agopian in a repair shop. We fix and modify guitars, amps, keyboards and stuff right here in Las Vegas. I’ve been working a lot lately with old Hammond organs and Leslie’s. I got cats. I’m writing a book.